Like others in that esteemed position, Judge Hill has faced a job that is both judicial and administrative.
Along with presiding on the bench, where he hears numerous cases, the Chief Judge’s duties include overseeing the work of six District 28 court judges and their rotation on the bench, determining the calendar for all civil and criminal cases that come before the Court, and supervising the district’s magistrate services.
Hill, a native of Cross Hill, SC, graduated from Benedict College in Columbia, SC, and earned his law degree at NC Central University’s School of Law. He passed the North Carolina bar in 1994 and began his professional career practicing law with the prestigious law firm of C. C. “Buddy” Malone in Durham. But Hill was lured by the beautiful western North Carolina mountains to relocate to Asheville, where he practiced law as a public defender in Buncombe County.
After a number of years in practice here, his fellow attorneys elected Hill president of the Bar Association for the 28th District of NC. He was the first African American to be chosen for that prestigious position in the more than one hundred years of the association.
In 2007, then-Governor Mike Easley appointed Judge Hill to the District Court; he was the second African American to serve in that capacity, following Robert L. Harrell, appointed by former Governor Jim Hunt in 1983. Now, after an illustrious 16-year career on the bench, Chief Judge Hill made his decision over a year ago not to run for reelection.
“I’m retiring from my judgeship,” he told The Urban News, “but I will probably be involved (with the practice of law) in some other ways.”
As he wrote in a public letter thanking the citizens of Buncombe County for their long-time support, “Being your Chief District Court Judge has been a highlight of my career as a lawyer. It has been a high honor serve the people of this county and I look forward to opportunities to be engaged as a public servant in the coming years.”
Judge Hill also added specific words to the young adults and youth of our region to inspire them to achieve great things: “Education is irreplaceable—you’ve got to have it and as much of it as possible. It is expensive, but not having an education is a lot more costly.
“Whether you are a religious person or a spiritual person, just remember there is a power greater than you. There is no replacement for motivation, self-discipline, hard work, and confidence. Remember… if you enjoy success, it is not all because of your hard work—there is that degree of karma whereby people are willing to help you succeed.”
The Urban News, on behalf of all the citizens of the 28th Judicial District, responds: “We appreciate your service as Chief Justice of Judicial District 28 and your administration of equal justice under the law.” And we hope all readers join us in wishing Chief Judge J. Calvin Hill the best in all his future endeavors.